Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Regent is the only major luxury line that is truly all-inclusive. Your fare covers flights (including business-class on international sailings), shore excursions (with a good selection in each port), wine and spirits (even top-shelf ones!), gratuities, and unexpected perks such as pre- and post-cruise hotel stays and airport transfers. Sure, there are temptations that are worth the splurge, including treatments at the excellent Canyon Ranch SpaClub — one of the best at sea — but otherwise you need to work hard to spend extra money on these generous ships.
In summer 2016, the line launched its newest ship in more than a decade, the $450-million dollar, all-suite Regent Seven Seas Explorer, best known for being labeled "the most luxurious ship in the world." This beautiful new ship ushered in a new era for the line, with a previously unseen attention to detail and an unforgettable art collection.
What We Love
Spacious Suites: Everyone stays in an expansive suite on these ships, and most cabins have balconies, walk-in closets, large bathrooms, and even bathtubs. As the price goes up, the space and amenities grow impressively. One special addition: The top Regent Suite on the Seven Seas Explorer comes with a solarium plus its own spa and a driver in ports ... and, for a fare of $5,000 per person, per day, it's being called the most exclusive suite in the world.
Socializing Encouraged: Early on in the cruise, you'll be asked to join the "block party." This Regent exclusive is a fun and easy way to meet your neighbors: You just step out of your cabin into your corridor at 6 pm with an empty glass. Stewards serve wine, and you get to meet your cruise mates. Since you'll be with the same people on ship and shore during excursions, it's a lovely way for the line to help facilitate friendships — especially since those massive cabins don't discourage you from hiding out.
Best Known For
Understated Elegance: The design here is both tasteful and subdued. The crowd, too, is fancy without being flashy. You can dress up if you want to (and many passengers do at night), but it's optional. Service is also friendly yet unobtrusive.
Special Requests Accepted: While the menus in the dining rooms, including acclaimed steakhouse Prime 7, list plenty of great dishes, Regent has also built a reputation for fulfilling guests' culinary whims. You can even bring favorite recipes from home for the chefs to prepare.
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Who It's Best For
Worldly Older Travelers: While the median age does go up and down depending on the length of the itinerary and the destination, most passengers on these ships are age 60 and up. Younger passengers may be bored by the low-key nightlife and slow pace of some tours. The one exception: Some families come on board during summer and holiday periods, when the line offers a limited array of kids' activities on select routes.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Be Prepared to See High Rates: With everything from air to shore excursions included in the cruise fare, you should expect the price to reflect what you get.
Fran Golden is a Cleveland-based contributor to ShermansCruise who also writes for USA Today.